Fire stop question

There are firestop codes for construction a finished basement. Like in the perimeter walls framing, etc.

Are there any firestop requirements for an unfinished unframed basement. Is it a requirement in some municipalities that a fire rated drywall ceiling must go up in unfinished basement to protect the first floor? I haven’t seen it, but some suggest there might be such a code.

I have seen so many open framed basement ceilings, that I doubt it. Have anyone seen such a code requirement?


I seriously doubt it, never seen it, but I don’t live in Illinois. The floor will provide as much as barrier as the drywall ceiling. The fire stops are there to stop the fire from rapidly spreading through vacant cavities allowing a bit more time for escape.

I don’t often see drat stops required for fire in areas that are not concealed. To meet energy codes the areas should be separated. It’s often an overlooked area that can provide good improvement so it’s a go to spot for retrofits. It’s allot easier to install during construction.

Thanks guys

I had never seen it before, but one of my clients suggested it and asked me about that.

It’s not required but was discussed here a few years ago. One thing that has stopped the requirement is that you have a giant chimney called a stairwell that would require a fire rated door.

To my knowledge, the only time you need firestop is when you penetrate a fire rated assembly. Such assemblies are required in multi-family housing (townhomes, apartments, condos, etc.), not single family homes. There is a whole chapter in the IRC on the subject. SECTION R302 FIRE-RESISTANT CONSTRUCTION

Firestop, 2x blocking, is required at a soffit line in single family homes.

Please cite the code.

I did it for 30 years as a framer, for Builders that give away no extras. And always called out by the code inspector. But I’ll find you something. Note, does not apply to unfinished basement.

The draft stop blocking is required at each floor level and attic transition, not soffit lines. Some builders install “fire blocking” at mid-height in exterior frame walls, but this is really just wall bridging. This would come into play in a balloon framed wall, furring on block, drop ceilings (framed), and interior partitions without top plates at the attic transition. All penetrations (wiring and plumbing) in the top plate or draft stops require fire caulking or foam. It has been this way since I started building in the 80’s.

I found this at, Based on Chapters 1 through 10 of the 2009 International Residential Code

and the link

And blocking half way up the wall is not “fireblocking”, it’s just blocking.

Fire blocking is different from Firestop. Firestop is caulk. The initial post referenced “firestop” and I stated that it’s only required if you penetrate a rated assembly (like in a condo). You are talking about “fire resistant construction”. Words have meaning, especially in the code. When you say “firestop”, that’s caulk.

You’re right.

Thanks for the clarification

My client suggested that there may be some fire blocking requirement in a multi unit building, between the “common” basement and the first floor dwelling unit. Could there possibly be a requirement to fire block unfinished basement by fire rated drywall ceiling because it’s a multi unit? Verses a house?

I don’t know about the ceiling drywall requirement for basements (don’t think so), but all open voids into any floor system must be sealed with at least a 30 min rating (wood 2x) for 1 and 2 family dwellings…maybe 1 hr rating for multi-family at party walls and attic fire barriers. Check with AHJ for your area.

So now we’re talking fireblocking.

I would just say that is beyond your expertise and knowledge and beyond the scope of a home inspection. There is nothing wrong with saying “I don’t know” in this case.